Start Dates for PWS School Programs

High School: Monday, August 31
Grades 1-8: Wednesday, Sept 9
Kindergarten: Thursday, September 10
Preschool: Monday, September 14

August 17, 2020 Update - Return to Campus Plan Overview

As PWS prepares to begin the 2020-21 School Year with Beyond the Classroom Learning for Grades 1-12 and in-person programs for Preschool and Kindergarten, please view the Level A Program: PWS Beyond the Classroom Learning Fall 2020 presentation below. The presentation gives an overview of the tools, schedules, and approaches for the fall in each program area.

Please check the PWS Beyond the Classroom Learning page for detail individual class schedules (starting August 20).

Level A Program: PWS Beyond the Classroom Learning Fall 2020 presentation

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August 7, 2020 Update - Beyond the Classroom Learning for Grades 1-12

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced that it will adhere to guidance from the California Department of Public Health, which recommends that Counties with COVID-19 case rates at or above 200 cases per 100,000 residents do not extend waivers for the re-opening of classroom instruction for students in elementary and high school. Currently, the case rate in LA County is 355 per 100,000 residents.

With this in mind, Pasadena Waldorf School will begin the school year with Beyond the Classroom (BTC) Learning for students in Grades 1-12. According to our earlier communications, this will have us at Level A Instruction. For our Early Childhood programs (Preschool and Kindergarten), PWS has entered into licensing on both of our EC class sites (Preschool at McComb Mendocino campus, Kindergarten at Machris Mariposa campus) under the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) so that we can run in-person Early Childhood Care, at school, independent of the rest of the school community needing to continue with BTC Learning at home. To view full the reopening protocol for PWS EC care, click on the Return to Campus tab on the PWS Parent Portal.

We understand that to many families and their teachers this is a disappointing announcement. The health and safety of students, their families, and PWS employees remain a priority. Our decision-making to ensure that level of health and safety is
based on existing science and the data that is guiding the County and State in reopening considerations.

Our ultimate goals remain firm:

  • To create as safe and stable a learning environment for each student and employee as we possibly can
  • To create schedules that are thoughtful and supportive for students, families, and teachers
  • To work creatively with our content, collaborating more than ever before, and use the lessons we learned from our first experience of Beyond the Classroom Learning to inform our plan

PWS employees are currently working on an improved roll-out of the Beyond the Classroom teaching plan and schedules for students in Grades 1-12. We will publish these plans within the next week on our Return To Campus page. The start dates of August 31 for High School and September 9 for Grades 1-8 remain in place

August 5, 2020 Update - In-person Early Childhood Programs Announcement

We know that our Early childhood (EC) students are best served with more in-person instruction. While our EC teachers put up a beautiful suite of online songs, stories, experiences, parent support and activities in the spring term; we know that our youngest learners do best in social and in-person class settings.   To facilitate this PWS has entered into licensing both of our EC class sites under the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) so that we can run in-person Early Childhood Care, at school, independent of the rest of the school community needing to continue with Beyond the Classroom Learning at home. This means that we can now open our Preschool at the McComb Mendocino Campus and Kindergarten at the Machris Mariposa Campus classrooms for pods of students consistently throughout the school year.

We place the safety, health and welfare of each member of the community first and foremost.  Our safety protocols layer mitigation tactics to reduce the risk of transmission. We are blessed with many inherent advantages helping us to make this decision which include:

  • Small class sizes combined with beautiful outdoor spaces and wonderful weather for most of the year
  • Physical layout of classrooms and modified scheduling allows for creating groups or pods, which can reduce the impact of needing to close if cases arise
  • Separate entrances for each classroom, with natural ventilation: two doors in each class and multiple windows allow for cross-ventilation
  • A community of employees and parents committed to healthy practices and compassion for all.
  • Experience of having run EC Camp this summer, honing our approach to maintain safety while still having a high level of love, warmth, connection, security and fun for the children.

In addition to holding class with consistent small groups of students (pods), we will stagger arrival and pick-up times, practice physical distancing as much as possible during the school day, follow heightened cleaning and sanitizing routines, perform health checks daily for both employees and students.

The PWS Early Childhood classes (both Preschool and Kindergarten) will run 5 days per week on campus.  The restrictions of LA County still prevent us from opening our Sweet Pea classes to our youngest friends and their families right now, but we are looking forward to offering Sweet Pea, in person, as soon as it becomes possible to do so.  We have created a complete Opening Protocol that describes the Health and Safety measures we will uphold.  Current parents may view on the Parent Portal and prospective parents may request more information from the PWS Admissions Office.

July 17, 2020 Update

Please watch this new update from PWS Pedagogical Administrator Erin Semin. Below please find the school Return to Campus Plan update that provides more detail on the four possible learning scenarios for PWS students during the 20-21 school year.  More detail is available in the Educational Framework presentation below.

July 17, 2020 Update from PWS Pedagogical Administrator Erin Semin

PWS EDUCATIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE 20-21 SCHOOL YEAR

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Marielle Price (1)
  • To create as safe and stable a learning environment for each student and employee as we possibly can
  • To create daily and weekly schedules that are thoughtful and supportive for students, families and teachers
  • To work creatively with our content and learning goals, collaborating more than ever before, and use the lessons we learned from our first experience of Beyond the Classroom Learning to inform strategies and lessons
2

Our priority for on-campus instruction is to safely work with as many students on campus as we can at any given time. We know that our EC students and youngest grades are best served with more in-person instruction and less remote instruction and we are looking at ways to maximize that while keeping everyone safe.

We are calculating room capacities, determining how we can move groups around the campus safely and how we can create teams of teachers to best support each class in case we have to reduce group sizes, alter schedules or restrict teacher movement between groups.

As we open summer care for a limited number of EC students in June we are evaluating the new health check and campus sanitizing protocols which will hopefully allow us to proceed to opening summer camp for grades students in the month of July and for classes to resume in the fall.

1
  • Strict adherence to sick policy and healthy hygiene practices for everyone on campus
  • Students and employees are advised to stay home if they have a fever or are experiencing other COVID-19 symptoms
  • Health checks will occur for students and employees daily upon arrival and if there are any symptoms, they will be sent home
  • Handwashing occurs upon arrival, before and after eating, after blowing nose, anytime hands are dirty
  • Masks/face coverings will be worn as advised by public health
  • Diligent cleaning protocols including disinfection and increased air flow indoors
    • Clean tables before and after eating
    • Wipe down equipment and materials after use
    • Deep clean surfaces and areas used each day
  • Revised drop off and pick up procedures to support distancing
  • Restrict non-essential visitors on campus, including parents
  • Maintain consistent cohorts throughout the day; restrict mixing between groups
  • Increased time outside for all students
  • Continue use of remote meetings for parents and employees
  • No large gatherings, including student assemblies and performances
  • No school-provided food
3

Class size, student groupings, program hours, class schedules and teacher assignments will be refined as we know more about the guidelines and requirements. Our plans are based on what we have learned about serving our students at each developmental level within this period of restrictions. Multiple scenarios are being considered (all students on campus, some students on campus, remote learning, a hybrid of on campus and remote learning) based on what could potentially occur between now and the beginning of school.

4

The buildings and grounds are being maintained and improved to accommodate heightened health and safety protocols. Cleaning and disinfecting along with emergency supplies and procedures are being reviewed and updated to ensure they are in alignment with the Federal, State and County guidelines. Technology will be evaluated to prepare the school to deliver teaching and communication for all learning scenarios.

5

We are examining how to best support the health and well-being of PWS employees as they return to campus. There may be new tasks to accomplish, a reprioritizing of responsibilities and cross training of essential functions to meet the safety and health protocols. We will be evaluating work schedules, workforce policies and remote working guidelines.

6

Our plans are now focused on how to maintain financial stability and sustainability during this unprecedented time. At present, thanks to the hard work and support of our outstanding school community, the 2019-20 fiscal year is projected to be at or near budget, despite the many financial challenges of recent months. The 2020-21 budget is being reevaluated based on the assumption of further, ongoing challenges, including increased operations costs and potentially lower enrollment. Conversations with lenders and bankers are in process to ensure financial support is available if the school requires it.

7

As school plans evolve, policies and procedures are established, and new guidelines are provided from government authorities, we will communicate with both with the authorities and with the PWS parent body. Admissions work continues with recruiting, interviewing and accepting students, using newly established virtual tours and communications. Just as the PWS spring event has transitioned to a Livestream event, the Development Office will be planning and adapting more school events based on what is possible during the 2020-21 school year.